Linux powered Sandy Bridge notebook from ZaReason

Subject: Mobile | December 2, 2011 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: linux, ZaReason, Strata 6880

The stats on the ZaReason Strata 6880 are quite nice, a Core i7 2630QM, 8GB of DDR3, a 128GB Super Talent SSD and a GeForce GT 540M to power the 15.6"1920 x 1080 display.  The real shocker is the price, $850 which is in part thanks to the lack of a Windows OS license as well as the hidden cost of the crapware that notebook vendors love to shove onto all of their products.  You might want to pick up an external drive to go with the laptop as 128GB is not a huge amount of space, though it certainly will be fast.  Head to Phoronix for a look at this laptop, which they have been benchmarking for quite a while now as you can see from the links on the last page of this short overview.


"You may have noticed several Phoronix articles in recent weeks using a ZaReason notebook built around Intel's "Sandy Bridge" processor. This is one of the new notebooks from ZaReason that had been in our labs for testing. Here is a last look at the Strata 6880 notebook from this Linux-focused PC vendor."

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Source: Phoronix
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design


Ultrabooks are now on store shelves, but that doesn’t mean the more traditional ultraportables are dead - not by a long shot. Thin may be cool, but the high price premium attached to ultrabooks means that they will, at least for now, be a niche product. Meanwhile, the workhorse 13.3” ultraportable will remain popular. 

One of the most accomplished manufacturers of this type of laptop is ASUS, which has been building U-Series ultraportables for several years now. We’ve generally given them high marks here, but now there is a new model to check out, the updated U36. Unlike the stylish U33 Bamboo, this model is a tough, simple laptop that seems to take ques from Lenovo’s ThinkPads. Has this compromised the series? Let’s find out.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS U36SD-XA1 Ultraportable notebook!!

Corsair Announces Vengeance High-Performance Memory for Laptops

Subject: Memory, Mobile | December 1, 2011 - 12:09 PM |
Tagged: corsair, vengeance, laptop memory, ddr3-1600, ddr3-1866

FREMONT, California — December 1st, 2011 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, today announced a line of high-performance memory upgrade kits for power laptop users.

Operating at speeds of 1600MHz and 1866MHz, the new Vengeance laptop memory upgrade kits are an ideal solution for notebooks equipped with a 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor. Vengeance laptop memory is designed to be plug-and-play, with no BIOS adjustments needed to instantly take advantage of the faster memory speed.


The new Vengeance high-performance memory upgrade kits for laptops are designed to work with any PC or notebook which accepts standard DDR3 SODIMMs, and are backward compatible with notebooks and laptops which use first-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Even on older notebooks, customers can still take advantage of the ability to upgrade to 8GB of memory using only two memory slots, and enjoy the confidence of Corsair's renowned service and support.

"As more complex applications and games are available in the market, many laptop users are looking for an easy way to improve their system performance in order to have the best experience." said Thi La, Vice President of Memory Products at Corsair. "Our new Vengeance high-performance laptop memory kits allow performance-minded customers to boost their memory performance and capacity in an instant." 

Size Speed # of DIMMs Part Number
8GB 1866MHz, 10-10-10-27, 1.5V 2 CMSX8GX3M2A1866C10
8GB 1600MHz, 9-9-9-24, 1.5V 2 CMSX8GX3M2A1600C9
4GB 1866MHz, 10-10-10-27, 1.5V 1 CMSX4GX3M1A11866C10
Source: Corsair
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Amazon

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics


The tablet market is starting to heat up. After a long period of dominance by the iPad and its long line of Android imitators, we have new competitors looking to spoil the tablet world order. On the high-end we have the incoming volley of buff Tegra 3 based products, and on the low end with have the Kindle Fire, a simple $199 tablet that seems to prefer that its users don’t think for a second about the hardware inside. 

That’s actually a bit odd, because the hardware inside is at least competitive. Though priced $300 less than the cheapest iPad 2, the Fire offers a dual core processor at the same clock speed of 1 GHz. It also provides 512MB of RAM and 8GB of storage, neither of which will blow away competitors, but all of which is competitive. While the 7” size of the Fire means there is simply less tablet to build, it’s impressive that Amazon has managed to cram reasonably impressive hardware into one of the cheapest Android tablets on the market today.

Hardware is only a small part of equation, however. Amazon really intends the Fire to be a portal to its world of services, which includes ebooks, streaming video, apps and much more. This is very much a walled garden, even more so than Apple’s iPad, and for it to work the spoils of the garden need to be damn good. Let’s see if $200 is really a good value given that users must buy into Amazon’s services as well. 

Continue reading our review of the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet!!

Could Toshiba really be offering good 3D without glasses on their new Qosmio

Subject: Mobile | November 24, 2011 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, qosmio F755-3D290, 3d

Even if the glasses-free 3D on the Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290 doesn't work very well the specs certainly make the laptop interesting.  For instance the 15.6" LED display is 1080p native or 720p if you enable the 3D mode.   Inside the Core i7-2630QM paired with a GT 540M give this laptop some serious processing power, though the model that AnandTech reviewed would set you back $1700 to purchase.  Strangely Toshiba opted not to include Optimus in this laptop which really shows when you look at the battery life, or lack thereof.  That begins the long list of issues that the reviewer at AnandTech had with this machine; catch the full list here.


"Way back in the dark ages of CES 2011, we were able to lay hands on and play with some interesting new technology from Toshiba. They had a prototype notebook on hand that was capable of glasses-free 3D similar to the Nintendo 3DS, but with a bigger screen and the ability to track head movement and adjust viewing angles accordingly. Yet the release of this 3D notebook has been an unusually quiet one. Is the 15-inch Qosmio F755 a sound design, or is there a reason why it's been unceremoniously dropped into the marketplace?"

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Source: AnandTech

Yummy: Transformer Prime running Ice Cream Sandwich

Subject: Mobile | November 22, 2011 - 05:21 PM |
Tagged: transformer prime, tegra 3, nvidia, ice cream sandwich, google, eee pad, asus

The world’s first quad-core mobile processor was recently made official with our announcement of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip, which will debut in the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android tablet. Following on Google’s release of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS) source code last week, we thought you’d like an early demo of ICS running on the Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

Google has done a great job on ICS and has made the platform open to the ecosystem and easy to develop on. Thanks to Google’s developer support, NVIDIA’s experienced software team was able to work with ASUS to quickly bring up Android 4.0 ICS on the Transformer Prime.

Recorded on November 16, only two short days after the source code for ICS was made publicly available, the video below shows the next-gen Android OS user interface looking clean and snappy on the Transformer Prime. This is just a sneak peak of things to come for the first Tegra 3-powered Android tablet.

This is just an early demo, but we think you’ll agree it’s extremely impressive that so much is already working well. Check out the flawless1080p video playback and quick demo of the quad-core optimized Riptide GP game in the video below.

By the way, find pre-order information for the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, powered by Tegra 3, at

Source: NVIDIA
Manufacturer: Electronic Arts

Introduction, Campaign Testing



As you might have noticed, we’re a bit excited about Battlefield 3 here at PC Perspective. It promised to pay attention to what PC gamers want, and shockingly, it has come through. Dedicated servers and huge multi-player matches are supported, and the browser based interface is excellent.

If we’re honest, a lot of our hearts have been stirred simply by the way the game looks. There aren’t many titles that really let a modern mid-range graphics card stretch its legs, even at 1080p resolution. Battlefield 3, however, can be demanding - and it looks beautiful. Even with the presets at medium, it’s one of the most attractive games ever.

But what does this mean for laptops? Has the resident laptop reviewer at PC Perspective, I know that gaming remains a challenge. The advancements over the last few years have been spectacular, but even so, most of the laptops we test can’t run Just Cause 2 at a playable framerate even with all detail set to low and a resolution of just 1366x768. 

To find out if mobile gamers were given consideration by the developers of Battlefield 3, I installed the game on three different laptops. The results only go to show how far mobile gaming has come, and has far it has to go.

Continue reading our article on mobile Battlefield 3 performance!!

CyberPower's sub-$1000 gaming laptop

Subject: Mobile | November 17, 2011 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: Cyberpower, X6 9200, gaming laptop, optimus

The name is a bit confusing, as the CyberPower X6 9200 doesn't include a Phenom II X6 1090T, it is powered by the 2.2GHz Core-i7 2670QM and NVIDIA's GT540M 2GB GPU with Optimus support.  The 15.6" monitor is quite impressive, supporting full 1080p resolutions as well as the more common 1366x768 resolution for laptops, at this price one should assume it is a TN panel.  Externally you can send signal via HDMI or VGA if you find the screen too small for your preferences.  They've fully populated the memory capacity of the system with a pair of 4GB DDR3-1333 DIMMs and storage is a 500GB HDD.  Bjorn3D had no issues with this $900 gaming laptop, but they do prefer a matte finish to the piano-style fingerprint magnet that CyberPower chose.


"Today we look at the budget friendly Cyberpower gaming notebook. A feature rich offering at a lower mid level price range, check out how well this gaming notebook does."

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Source: Bjorn3D
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Alienware

Introduction and Design


In the realm of hulking, powerful gaming laptops, Alienware remains king by popular vote. Whatever you think of their laptops (as always, popularity attracts criticism) there is no denying that the Alienware name stands for something among gamers. And to most, they're a dream machine, the laptop equivilent of a Ferrari 458 Italia.

The purpose of a review, of course, is to move past reputation and judge the true capabilities of a product. And in the case of the Alienware M17x, there's a lot to judge. We’ll talk about its bulk later, but I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that this laptop has big bones as well as serious hardware.


One paper, the stars seem to align. But this market remains competitive, thanks to not only to boutique outfits like Origin and Maingear but also to ASUS, which is still on its gaming laptop war-path, producing affordable rigs that can be had for surprisingly little dough. With competition on all sides, can the Alienware justify its $2500 price of entry? Let’s find out.

Continue reading our review of the Alienware M17x gaming notebook!!

Apple IOS Update Fails To Fix Battery Issues

Subject: Mobile | November 12, 2011 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: iphone, iOS 5, battery issue, apple

Owners of Apples’ latest iOS devices (especially 3GS, 4, and 4S iphones) have recently run into some battery life issues. Allyn did some testing and found that the latest iOS 5 operating system has a bug (among others) the phone is not able to enter standby mode thanks to a rogue process keeping the phone awake and wasting battery life. Apple was slated to put out the iOS 5.0.1 update, which was supposed to fix the battery life issues.

Well, the update has been released and many users are still experiencing battery life issues. Apple gave a statement to AllThingsD where it stated that although the recent iOS update addressed many of the battery issues, “we continue to investigate a few remaining issues.” According to this poll, approximately 35% (1,822 participants) are having the same battery issues after the update and nearly 14% are experiencing even worse battery issues than before the update. Conversely, almost 18% (910 participants) of people are getting improved battery life from the update. Lastly, a bit over 33% have not reported not experiencing any battery issues. The poll is currently based on a total of 5,145 respondents.


According to Apple, the battery issues are software related, so here’s hoping that they will get their iphones in a row and release an update to fix the issues. More information on Apple’s statement can be found here. Did the update fix your iphone’s battery woes?

Source: Mashable